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White House Touts Nearly $1.4 Billion in IT Savings

Caitlin Fairchild/Nextgov.com

This story has been updated to clarify the source of IT savings.

Information technology reform programs have saved the government $1.37 billion in the past year and a program to overhaul agencies’ information technology portfolios has saved $885 million, U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel told a House panel Thursday. 

The program known as PortfolioStat had saved $300 million as of March. 

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., expressed skepticism about the reported savings and asked for more documentation. Mica chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's panel on Government Operations. VanRoekel responded that the figures were based on rigorous investment reviews. 

PortfolioStat has focused so far on consolidating and rationalizing contracts for commodity information technology such as cellphone and Internet service. The White House has estimated the program will ultimately save up to $2.5 billion.

In March, VanRoekel combined PortfolioStat with a three-year-old initiative to winnow the number of federal data centers and make the remaining centers run more efficiently.

That consolidation initiative has faced severe criticism in recent months from the Government Accountability Office’s chief IT auditor David Powner. VanRoekel and Powner are testified about the initiative before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

VanRoekel’s office hasn’t pressed agencies enough to report on their savings from consolidation, Powner has said. He has argued the White House estimates of $3 billion to $5 billion in savings from the data center project alone will be very difficult to achieve.

Agency-by-agency savings information from PortfolioStat as of June 30 are listed below. The figures were provided by Vanroekel’s office:

Agency

PortfolioStat Savings (in millions) *

Department of Agriculture

$51

Department of Defense

$189

Department of Education

$6

Department of Energy

$10

Department of Homeland Security

$164

Department of Justice

$9

Department of the Interior

$23

Department of the Treasury

$43

Department of Transportation

$13

General Services Administration

$15

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

$102

National Archives and Records Administration

$5

National Science Foundation

$4

Nuclear Regulatory Commission 

$10

Social Security Administration

$206

U.S. Agency for International Development

$5

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

$30

Total:

$885

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